College is expensive and everyone knows that.
Between paying for tuition, parking, textbooks, extra fees, and everything else, you also have basic living expenses to pay for as well.
All of these costs are either brand new or somewhat new to you most likely as well, so you might not even know how to survive on a budget, let alone a college budget.
Don’t worry, though, surviving on a college budget is possible. Learning how to save money in college is possible!
Related post: How I Paid Off $40,000 In Student Loans In 7 Months
Whether you are trying to survive the whole year off of what you made over the summer or if you have a steady job throughout the school year, there are ways to budget your money and not fall into any extra debt. Plus, you can still enjoy your college years on a low budget as well!
Below are my tips on how to survive on a college budget.
Use your student ID.
Your student ID is good at many places beyond just your college campus. Before you buy anything, I highly recommend seeing if a company offers a student discount.
Your student ID can be used to save money at restaurants, clothing stores, electronics (such as laptops!), at the movies, and more. You may receive a discount, free items, and more all just by flashing your student ID.
After all, you are paying to go to college and you are paying a lot. You might as well reap one benefit of paying all of those high college costs.
Make extra money.
You may need to look into making extra money if you just don’t have enough to survive on. I am a firm believer in making extra money and I think extra time can be wisely spent doing this.
Some online side gigs with flexible schedules include:
- Blogging is how I make a living and just a few years ago I never thought it would be possible. I made over $150,000 last year by blogging and will make more than that in 2015. You can create your own blog here with my easy-to-use tutorial. You can start your blog for as low as $3.49 per month plus you get a free domain if you sign-up through my tutorial.
- Survey companies I recommend include Survey Junkie, American Consumer Opinion, Product Report Card, Pinecone Research, Opinion Outpost, and Harris Poll Online. They’re free to join and free to use! It’s best to sign up for as many as you can because that way you can receive the most surveys and make the most money.
- InboxDollars is an online rewards website I recommend. You can earn cash by taking surveys, playing games, shopping online, searching the web, redeeming coupons, and more. Also, by signing up through my link, you will receive $5.00 for free!
- Swagbucks is something I don’t use as much, but I do earn Amazon gift cards with very little work. Swagbucks is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded points called “SB” for the things you do through their website. Then, when you have enough points, you can redeem them for cash, gift cards, and more. You’ll receive a free $5 bonus just for signing up today!
- Check out 75 Ways To Make Extra Money for more ideas.
- Read Best Online Jobs For College Students
Use coupons to stay on a college budget.
Just like with the above, you may want to start using coupons.
By doing so, you can save money on nearly everything. You can find coupons in newspapers, online, and in the mail. They are everywhere so you should have no problem finding them and saving money today.
Related post: How To Live On One Income
Learn how to correctly use a credit card or don’t have one at all.
Many college students fall into credit card debt, but I don’t want you to be one of them.
Many college students will start relying on their credit cards in order to get them through their low college budget, but this can lead to thousands of dollars of credit card debt which will eventually seem impossible to get out of due to significant interest charges that keep building up.
In order to never get into this situation, you should avoid credit cards at all costs if you think you will rely on them too heavily.
You should think long and hard about whether you should have one or not. Just because many others have them doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing! However, if you think you will be good at using them, then there are many advantages of doing so.
Related post: Credit Card Mistakes That Can Lead To Debt
Only take out what you need in student loans.
Many students take out the full amount in student loans that they are approved for even if they only need half.
This is a HUGE mistake. You should only take out what you truly need, as you will need to pay back your student loans one day and you will most likely regret it later.
I know someone who would take out the max amount each semester and buy timeshares, go on expensive vacations, and more. It was a huge waste of money and I’m still not even sure why they thought it was a good idea.
Just think about it – If you take out an extra $2,000 a semester, that means you will most likely take out almost $20,000 over the time period that you are in college.
Do you really want to owe THAT much more in student loans?
Skip having a car.
Most campuses have everything you need in order to survive – food, stores, and jobs. In many cases, you do not need to have a car whatsoever.
By foregoing a car, you may save money on monthly payments, maintenance costs, car insurance, gas, and more.
Related post: Should We Get Rid Of A Car And Just Have One?
Eat out less.
Now, I’m not saying you should stop eating out entirely if you are trying to survive on a college budget. I know how it is to be in college and to want to hang out with everyone. These are your college years after all.
However, you should try to eat in as much as you can, make your own meals, and try to eat out only during happy hours or when food is cheaper, such as during lunch time. Eating out can ruin your college budget!
Have a roommate.
The more people you live with, generally the less you will pay when it comes to rent and utilities. If you are living on your own, then you may want to find roommates so that you can split the costs with them.
This will help you to lower your college budget and you may even find some awesome friends.
Related post: What I Learned Having Roommates
What college budget tips do you have?